Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
Mike Neal is an intriguing free agent for the Jags to consider.
Improving the pass rush rates as important as getting better at quarterback this offseason. Bradley has to find a consistent pass-rush threat to spearhead his multiple-front schemes.
Bradley has used the "Leo" position in Jacksonville, and both veteran Jason Babin and youngster Andre Branch have seen time in the role. It would be safe to bet against 33-year-old Babin being brought back, especially given his high cap figure.
He will make $6 million this season, and that makes Babin a likely cap casualty, per a report from NFL.com writer Kevin Patra.
Branch has plenty of potential, but most of it has gone unfulfilled so far. In fairness, the 2012 second-round pick did become productive in the later stages of last season, registering six sacks.
But even with improvement from Branch, Bradley needs another player who can wreck blocking schemes and worry quarterbacks. Fortunately, there are a host of skilled pass-rushers on the market. Three in particular should appeal to Jacksonville.
Michael Johnson has generally performed well as a rush end for the Cincinnati Bengals. He operates on the side opposite Branch and combines height, power and acceleration to collapse the edge.
One concern is that Johnson's production dipped in 2013, as he registered just 3.5 sacks. He uncomfortably wore the franchise tag, as well as receiving extra blocking attention following the season-ending injury to premier defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
If the drop in numbers deters the Jags or Johnson simply opts to sign for a team with more immediate playoff prospects, a double Super Bowl winner could be the answer.
Justin Tuck is considered on the decline by many, but he still logged 11 sacks in 2013. He is also versatile enough to rush from a standing position, a three-point stance or from the inside as a defensive tackle.
Tuck is ready to let the market determine his value and destination, according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post. That puts the stellar veteran within Jacksonville's range, and Bradley has to give him a long look.
If he is not tempted, Bradley could opt for a more unheralded free agent who could be the best scheme fit on the market. Mike Neal is ideally suited to perform the linebacker/defensive end "Leo" role, considering he played both positions for the Green Bay Packers.
Neal notched five sacks in 2013 as a rush linebacker and 4.5 the season before as an end. At 6'3" and 285 pounds, the 26-year-old has the size and speed mix to thrive in Bradley's defense.
The Jaguars cannot leave free agency in the rear view without securing at least one quality pass-rusher.